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Thread: 15 gal planted betta/neon tank
07-03-2014, 11:52 PM #401
07-04-2014, 02:00 AM #402
Cindy, I'm so sorry. My heart breaks for you also. It may have only been a month but know that you gave him the best days of his life. So so sorry._______________________________________________
07-04-2014, 02:32 AM #403
I apologize in advance for the lengthy note to come but I'm needing some help.
Much as I hate to I'm revisiting pH, GH, and KH in this tank I am again wondering if my PH fluctuation is a possible cause of both Raylan and Junior's death.
Some of you may remember that back in March, I checked my pH for the first time in months and was shocked to see it had dropped to around 6.5 in the 15 gal from 7 the last time I had checked it. Tap water BTW is 7.6
A lot of you chimed in (thank you thank you!)and we basically decided I needed a new pH test kit and a GH/KH test kit. I got both. The pH results were the same. I believe at that time I incorrectly tested the KH and came up with 6 or 7 and GH at 9 - 11. OR possibly they did read differently back then.
So we decided that since the fish seemed to be doing fine (this was a little while before Raylan died, I believe) that most likely the addition of several new plants had lowered the pH and all was good with the world because my GH and KH were high enough to counter act any adverse effects of the lower PH.
Then Raylan died a little later and I got Junior a month ago. And now Junior is dead.
So, I tested pH in the 15 gal tonight after I found him. This was after a 30% W/C this morning.
Ph = 6.5 (remember, tap water is 7.6) so clearly there was a huge pH fluctuation between the tap water that I added and the resulting water in the tank that may have contributed to his death when he was already struggling.
Now add to this that KH for both tank and tap = 3 (or 53.7ppm). GH for tank and tap = 7 (or 125.3ppm) These numbers are both down substantially from last March (or, as I said, I did the tests wrong - particularly the KH as I was looking for a yellow yellow ,not just a switch from blue to a sort of yellow.)
Before writing this note, I read and reread the links that Mommy1 had sent me back them (I believe they are somewhere around post 111 and thanks again mommy1). I absorb things slowly but I think that what I grasped from one of the articles is that while pH fluctuation can be caused by a number of things the only thing that matched up with this tank was the low KH.
So here is what I think I have figured out and PLEASE someone correct me if I'm off base.
When I started out with this tank 2 1/2 years ago (and switched it from a 5 gal unplanted to a 15 gal planted last year) the pH that had been running around 7 in the tank, gradually dropped to 6.5 ppm as I added plants. Had the KH in my water been higher - even a 5 or a 6 as opposed to a 3, all would have been well as the KH was high enough to buffer the alkalinity and would have stabilized the pH and kept it around 7.
So I'm thinking that the end result is that all of my weekly water changes (generally 30 - 50%) were creating such a pH swing that it stressed the bettas over time and that's possibly why they died.
If I'm right, and knowing that I'm not in a position to start making small, frequent W/Cs to keep from shocking the fish, I think I need to consider a buffer.
My question then is: Do you think I'm on the right track? And if so, what's the best thing to use to buffer?
And remember, in this situation, it's not just about raising pH. If I can use a buffering product to raise the KH, the pH will adjust automatically. So I'm not looking for a pH up or pH down product.
Baking soda was suggested in this article - but not as the best choice. Seachems also makes a buffering product.
I'm hoping someone out there can help me out with this - because I went ahead and tested the pH and KH and GH in my other two tanks and ran into an almost worse situation in the 90.
In the 30 the pH is 6.8 - not to bad. KH and GH are the same as the tap water.
In the 90 the pH is only 6.4! That's really scary - close to losing my cycle scary. Again, KH and GH are the same as the tap water - 3 and 7 respectively.
Both of these tanks are also heavily planted now and most likely account for the lower pH. So I'm going to need a buffer for these tanks as well.
What say you all? Is my 90 in danger of losing its cycle?
And were you my position, would you start using a buffering agent?
BTW - ammonia 0, nitrites 0, nitrates less than 5 in the 15 and 30, and 15 in the 90.
PS - I'm a bit discouraged, if you hadn't noticed. I've been working so hard to reduce nitrates that I let this situation get away from me. Just when you think you've got a really good handle on things - the handle comes loose. :o(
Last edited by fishmommie; 07-04-2014 at 02:40 AM.
07-04-2014, 03:12 AM #404
Wow i am turlly sorry to hear of junior's passing. My two cents are seachem products are good. A question for you, do you or have you had trouble in the 90 with the ph where it is? As in fish passing? I really domt have a good answer for you. But will say keep on you do good for your fish. And i wounder if KevinVA might be in simmlar boat, maybe good idea to ask him to check his tanks to.
seachem makes product like perfect ph 7.0 really not sure what the name is off the top od my head. Also will look for link on homemade buffer used by african chilid keper in my area.
Last edited by cm12setx; 07-04-2014 at 03:15 AM.
07-04-2014, 03:22 AM #405
fishmommie look at the link it might be a buffer you are looking for.
also this one:
Last edited by cm12setx; 07-04-2014 at 03:32 AM.
07-04-2014, 03:35 AM #406
BUT I recently added 3 large Kleiner Bar Swords ( HUGE plants) and a nice bunch of rotala. I would guess they are the cause for the low pH but I've got to get it back up in that tank or it may crash and lose the cycle.
Kevin may possibly have the same issue - I think he's gone for the weekend.
I may add some baking soda to the 90 tomorrow to see if the brings the pH up.
thanks again for the link.
07-04-2014, 03:43 AM #407
baking soda will raise ph. but lower gh/hk as you know can cause fluctuations of ph the first link most of the people keep thropus or er african chiclids. the salt they use is to raise the gh/kh but they do it slowly very slowly. see link:http://www.houstonfishbox.com/vforum...memade+buffers
07-04-2014, 04:06 AM #408
I'm really nervous about all this. I don't want a pH of 8 + :o) I'd just like to stabalize the pH and keep it closer to 7.
But the way I understand the articles I've been reading, if I get the KH up, the pH will then stabilize.
As I said, I'm absorbing this slowly and hoping to come up with the right solution. I'm going to reread t he articles again, but I don't recall the baking soda will lower KH. That is exactly what I don't want to do :o)
Thanks again. I really appreciate that you're taking time to try to help me.
07-04-2014, 06:03 AM #409
Just got here, sorry for the loss of Junior :(Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.
Once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. -Vince Lombardi
“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” ― John Wooden
Sandy Hook Elementary......Lest We Forget
See my profile for my tanks and what fish I keep
07-04-2014, 04:02 PM #410
Okay - regarding the pH, KH GH issue.
I talked to Sandz who explained a lot of things that eased my mind and made a lot of sense
1) PH low enough lose a cycle would be down in the 2 or 4 range, not 6.5, so that alleviated THAT concern (which is actually about my 90 gal)
2) pH swings of 1 total point or more will stress fish but not swings of .2 or .4 or even .6. Additionally, LOW pH water added to a HIGHER PH tank could have the effect of stressing fish because you're introducing MORE acidity, whereas HIGHER pH water added to a LOW PH tank has a positive effect on the fish because it helps neutralize the acidity. So I'm no longer afraid of making a W/C in the 90 because the latter is my situation.
Additionally, He also said I while I could add little baking soda to increase KH and eventually pH he probably wouldn't bother because then, instead of the tank naturally settling in to the pH that would occur with just water changes, I'd be in the position of trying to constantly adjust it and THAT would create a really unstable pH which is a much bigger issue than low PH
He also feels that bettas have basic inherent health issues and he's certain, from seeing the photos that Junior had a tumor and that's what did him in. He also felt that Raylan's death in the same tank was also an inherent health issue not the pH issue otherwise why would I still have neons that are 2 1/2 years old thriving in the same tank when they are notoriously difficult to keep alive.
he did say that if I wanted to I could add some crushed coral or some sea shells to bring up the KH a bit and that could elevate the pH to be a little closer to my tap water.
Bottom line - I'm feeling better and sometimes wishing I didn't have test kits and access to material that makes me question everything I do :o)
I'll be reading more about pH and KH etc but for now, I'm carrying on.
Thanks everyone for your concerns and help.